Performance Creation Concentration

Bienvenue, Company SBB, 2017 – Stefanie Batten Bland, current student. Photo: JC Dhien.

The Performance Creation Concentration, offered in Goddard’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts (MFAIA) program, is designed to provide a learning context that blurs lines between authored, collaborative, and interpretive models of performance.

Goddard’s approach to performance creation is unique. By assembling a learning community of artists working in theater, dance, music and sound, spoken word and other oral forms, hybrid performance practices, digital performance, and the intersection of performance and technology (including film making), we’ve established a context in which students can work across boundaries that too often limit an artist’s practice. The concentration is designed to capitalize on Goddard’s low-residency model, allowing students to build their performance practice in their home communities and, through the use of technology, to establish working partnerships with students, alumni, and faculty across the world.

The concentration is available to students who attend residencies at the Vermont campus.

Questions? Write to, call 800.906.8312, or complete the online inquiry form.

About the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts

The Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts (MFAIA) engages artists from a variety of practices, including visual arts, dance, music, theater, performance art, social practice, design, digital media, and the literary arts, to study in a rigorous interdisciplinary context. Students not only have the opportunity to work across artistic disciplines both individually and in collaboration with peers, but the MFAIA also encourages broader interdisciplinary inquiry, enabling dialogue among art and science, social science, humanities, and other systems of knowledge.

One of the only graduate programs in the world committed to art as a transformational practice, the MFAIA is designed to support artists with diverse life experiences and goals ranging from the social, political, to the aesthetic, spiritual or autobiographical. Our learning community supports the development of a robust lifelong art practice. We envision artmaking as a form of critical thinking, that integrates research and interdisciplinary problem-solving and engages ethically in public contexts.

The Residency Site

Students who enroll in the Performance Creation Concentration attend residencies on Goddard’s campus in Plainfield, Vermont. The Plainfield campus in central Vermont is about a 15-minute drive from Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, and an hour from Burlington, one of Vermont’s largest cities.

The Low-Residency Model

The low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program is a five-semester, 60-credit terminal degree program designed to facilitate students in articulating an original vision, refining expressive skills, and experimenting in new directions. You will attend 8 day residencies at the beginning of each semester. During this time, in collaboration with faculty, you will craft study plans which guide your individually designed learning goals and activities. One-on-one work with faculty takes place over the course of 15 week semesters.

The Faculty

Students completing the Performance Creation Concentration are able to work with all Vermont-based MFAIA faculty members, but are required to work with concentration advisors for at least two semesters.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, concentration advisors include:

Peter Hocking is an interdisciplinary artist, primarily working in visual arts, writing, and community practice. As a faculty advisor he works closely with performance creators to explore and articulate the visual and social context of their work.

Gale Jackson is a poet, storyteller, writer and teaching artist. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for her work in griot traditions, worked for many years in university, public and community education, and as a lecturer, performer, researcher and librarian.

Andrea Parkins is a sound artist, composer and electro-multi-instrumentalist who also makes/arranges objects and images.

Rachael Van Fossen (lead faculty coordinator) is a theatre and interdisciplinary artist and teacher with a focus on collaborative practices in socially-engaged performance. Her current research focuses on a theatre of encounter, and its potential to build relationship across different life experiences and values.

Degree Concentration Requirements

Students who successfully complete the concentration will receive a concentration notation on their final transcript.

In addition to fulfilling (or as a means of navigating) the existing MFAIA degree requirements, the concentration requires students to:

  • Engage with the concentration for a minimum of four semesters of the five-semester MFAIA program.
  • Build significant creative work each semester, including experimental works and elements of one’s thesis work.
  • Develop 45-­50 critical resource annotations.
  • Develop three critical essays.
  • Complete a capstone thesis.
  • Participate in at least two collaborative learning opportunities and a sequence of residency workshops.
  • Demonstrate significant engagement with artworks, performance, and theory beyond one’s existing cultural experience.